NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Toronto
(Wednesday, February 4th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 115, Toronto 107
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant finished with 36 points, and had a crucial basket and rebound in the final minute to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 115-107 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Coming off a Madison Square Garden record 61-point performance Monday, Bryant also had nine rebounds and five assists, as the Lakers improved to 4-0 on their current six-game road trip. Los Angeles wraps up the trip with contests against the Eastern Conference's top two teams -- Thursday at Boston and Sunday at Cleveland, which has not lost a home game this season.
Pau Gasol contributed 31 points and 15 boards for the Lakers, who have won eight of nine overall.
Joey Graham scored a career-high 24 points for the Raptors, while Jermaine O'Neal nearly ended up with a triple-double, posting 22 points, nine rebounds and a season-high nine blocks.
Andrea Bargnani had 21 points and nine boards for Toronto, which not only dropped its fourth consecutive game, but lost forward Chris Bosh to a sprained right knee in the fourth quarter. He had 12 points through nearly 29 minutes of action, but did not return after leaving the game.
Toronto was already playing without guard Jose Calderon, who sat with a sore hamstring.
"It's like talking about Christmas with no presents," O'Neal said of his performance in the loss. "It doesn't really matter what you do individually, it's about winning in this league. You're obviously based on wins and losses, so individual stats are okay for writing, but as an athlete, I would (have) probably felt a lot better if I scored 10 points and grabbed two rebounds or whatever it is, and we had won."
The Raptors entered the fourth quarter with a two-point edge, but the teams swapped the lead several times over the first few minutes. Then, approaching the midway point, Bryant had a bucket and Sasha Vujacic followed with a three-pointer, providing Los Angeles with a 98-94 edge. It was the first multiple-possession advantage for either team in the stanza.
Toronto scored on each of its next three trips down the court, but the Lakers had an answer each time, and Bryant's long jumper with under four minutes to go put LA ahead 104-100.
The Lakers widened their lead to seven after another Bryant bucket and a Gasol free throw with just under 1 1/2 minutes on the clock.
But Anthony Parker answered with a three from the right side and, after a Bryant miss, Parker fed Graham on a fastbreak with an outlet pass. Graham fought through the lane in traffic for the layup and was fouled, but missed the shot, keeping Toronto down 107-105 with 42.7 seconds remaining.
Bryant took advantage of the miss by sinking a pull-up jumper from the foul line on the other end with 23.6 remaining. Parker then missed a shot on the Raptors' next possession, and Bryant grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made both attempts from the line for a six-point edge, as the Lakers held on for the win.
"We knew they were going to come to play and they did," Bryant said of the Raptors. "We just wanted to keep the game close and see if we can't win it down the stretch."
Toronto began the game on a 21-9 run, though the Lakers managed to get back within 31-26 going into the second quarter. The teams traded baskets and short runs until halftime, when Toronto had a 63-58 edge.
O'Neal's jumper shortly into the third gave Toronto a 69-60 lead, but Bryant drilled a three and Gasol added a jumper, and the game was close the rest of the frame. Bryant's basket in the final minute brought LA within 87-85 going to the fourth.
It was the 12th game of the season in which Bryant scored at least 30 points...Despite suffering the injury, Bosh went over 8,000 career points. He had 7,999 coming into Wednesday's contest...Graham set his previous career high of 22 on January 18 against Phoenix...O'Neal last triple-double came on January 22, 2003, when the then-Pacer had 18 points, 10 rebounds and a career- high 10 blocks to lead Indiana to a 101-98 win over, coincidentally, Toronto.
02/04 23:50:35 ET